Joseph Prince - Activate the Grace Covenant Through Tongues
I'm gonna share with you today about praying before the trial happens. You know Jesus said to his disciples in the garden in Gethsemane, he says, "Pray that you enter not into temptation". And the word "temptation" there is testings and trials. So, Jesus said, "Pray that you enter not". Some Christians say, "Well, the more trials we have, the stronger we become". You know what? If Jesus taught me to pray that I enter not into testing, I'm gonna pray that I enter not into testing. Why don't you lift one hand up to the Lord and say, "Father, in the name of Jesus lead me and my family throughout this coming week not into testings or any temptation, but deliver us from the power of the evil one. In Jesus's name, amen". Amen. Praise God, praise the Lord. Hallelujah, amen.
You know, there is the power of the evil one and God wants to keep us. God wants to protect us from the power of the evil one. Today I want to share with you something about like what I shared just now. You can pray before you enter into the temptation, before you enter into testings and trials. God has given us provisions that we can walk in that way.
So, for this, I'm gonna share with you something that recently Pastor Mark, our Chinese pastor, he asked me a question, "Pastor Prince, if the children of Israel, they were under grace"... And they were, because the children of Israel before they were delivered out of Egypt, until they were brought to Mount Sinai, they were actually under the covenant of grace. The covenant that God cut with their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Ten Commandments were not given yet until Israel came to Mount Sinai after they were delivered from Egypt. Then God gave them the Ten Commandments, which is something that they asked for, not knowing, all right, their flesh. They presumed on their own righteousness, which they had none.
So, back to this question, why was it that if they were under grace, God allowed them to be under bondage all those years? Now, I'm gonna answer the question, but before that, let me just tell you this about the human heart, there's something very, very mystical about the human heart when it is ruled by the flesh. Do you know that you can be oppressed for a long time and you still play the strong man? And it's amazing, this thing about us being attacked, being oppressed and we still say, "No problem, I can handle it. So far so good. It's not that bad yet".
And I submit to you, there is something that God was waiting for in the children of Israel and that was, we know that God always wants man to depend on him. The greatest posture of a man is dependence on God. So, for many years, when they were under the whiplash of the hard taskmasters of Egypt, one thing they did was this, they said, "We can take it. We can take it". It was not until... believe it or not, I did a check. From the time Joseph died, there arose a king that knew not Joseph, the Bible says. And then he was afraid because God's people were multiplying, amen.
And y'all know the story, they were just producing and God's people were so blessed, they are producing. And this king says, "Look, if they continue this way, they'll take over the entire nation of Egypt. Let's subdue them. Let's subjugate them and let's put them under our power, our strength, all right, let's make them slaves", okay? And that happened for many years. There was no Moses yet. And I calculated the time from that time until the time God responded and sent an 80-year-old deliverer called Moses. It was about 215 years. That's a long time, folks.
So, I asked the question, why so long? Because our flesh, like I said just now, sometimes we are oppressed, we are under pressure. We will not even cry out. See what happened? Exodus 2, "Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them".
Wow, wow, long before God acknowledged them, God who knows all things. Obviously, God knew they were in bondage but there is something about covenant. The children of Israel, they were actually under the covenant of grace based on the covenant God made with Abraham when God gave Abraham the covenant and they're actually under the covenant of grace. Yet, God was waiting for something from them, something as simple as saying, "God, I depend on you", but they can't say that.
There's no record they ever said that, all right? Then maybe they'll cry, "Oh, God". There's no record. The groaning you see, in a while's time I'm gonna show you, nowhere do you find they groan to God. No where do you find the children of Israel in Egypt, they cried out to God. All it says is God heard their groaning. God came down to the lowest level where they activated the covenant by saying, "Oh". God says, "That's my covenant being activated. Come on, angels, go forth". Are you listening, people?
All right, you cannot pray good prays. Okay, never mind. What can you pray? One line, "Father, help me". Cannot also. How about, "Father, help", cannot. How about, "Father", cannot. How about, "Ow"? That's a prayer. Just a groan will reach the throne. Just a groan will reach the throne. Here is our foundation for that, all right? The Bible says, "God heard their groaning".
Now notice they cried out. Doesn't say they cry to the Lord. They cried out by reason of their bondage, all right? Their cry came up to God. Didn't say they cried to God. They cried, and their cry came up to God. I'm gonna fast forward something here for you to understand and you will see how God's grace is magnified here. Now, I'm gonna fast forward to the children of Israel. They came out of Egypt and all the way through the wilderness 40 years and all that and now they entered through the River Jordan to the Promised Land, and Joshua is their new leader. And Joshua said something very profound. Joshua reminded them of something in the Land of Canaan.
Look at this Joshua 24, "Now therefore", Joshua exhorted the children of Israel, "fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served", listen, "put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord"! You know what it's saying literally? At that time they were in bondage under the hard taskmasters, but they were worshiping other Gods in Egypt, wow. And yet when they groaned, God remembered his covenant.
All right, let's look at the New Testament and let's see what is this cry, okay? Look at Romans chapter 8, verse 26, "Likewise the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, also helps in our weaknesses". Now this word, "weaknesses", 70% to 80% of the time in the New Testament is used for physical sickness. So, I submit to you, the Holy Spirit helps you when you are under attack physically. But how do we release that? Now, "For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought".
So, what I do is this, all right, this is what I do, and I'm talking about physical symptom, any other area for that matter, it can be finances, can be like, "God, I don't know what's happening with my family. It seems like we are always getting into strife", or "I do not know what's happening to my teenager. We are always getting into disagreements". Or it may be like your financial life has always been going down, down. There's no breakthrough. Just tell the Holy Spirit, what I do is that if there's a physical symptom, I just say, "Holy Spirit, I do not know how to pray for this".
Now, I know God's will that Jesus, by Jesus's stripes, I'm healed. He paid for it already, but how to get what he paid into my body, I do not know as I ought. That's why we engage lawyers. Who is a lawyer? Someone who knows all about the law, okay? One of the terms used for the Holy Spirit is that he is an advocate. Say "advocate". He knows all about God's laws and bylaws. He knows how the laws of the universe works. He knows how the laws of health are violated, he knows what brings health, healing. He knows all about this. He's the Holy Spirit, and he knows what you lack. So, when you engage him, he takes all that he knows about what Jesus did, and he knows more what Jesus did than you know than even Pastor Prince can fully express. And he will do it and bring it into your place where you need it. Are you listening, church?
That's why the Holy Spirit helps us, and the word "help" is not like, let the Holy Spirit pray. The word "help" is together with, we help together with. In other words, I open my mouth, he prays through me, all right? And we come to the next line, "But the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered".
Now, the word "groanings" here is stenagmos, all right, stenagmos which cannot be uttered. "Cannot be uttered" is very interesting. In Thayer's definition of "cannot be uttered", we think of it in the English as you're not able to say it. But actually the word "cannot be uttered" means it is not a known language. And Thayer says it is used in classical Greek as love secrets. You are speaking love secrets. For example, if English is your known language, there is a groaning, a love secret that you have to help, and the Holy Spirit helps you but you have to give vent to it, all right, that God calls it the same as the groanings of the children of Israel in Egypt.
"Pastor Prince, how do you know it's the same groaning"? I'm glad you asked. Now, the word here is stenagmos. That's why I gave you the Greek, stenagmos, right? If we find that the groaning of the children of Israel is stenagmos, we got a winning combination, am I right? But then the Old Testament is in Hebrew where this story happened. The New Testament is in Greek, so how do we know it's stenagmos? This word stenagmos appears only one other time, only one other time in the New Testament, and you know where is it? When Stephen, the deacon, Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, was sharing the story of the children of Israel and how they were in Egypt and he used this, watch this, Acts 7.
Stephen is sharing, and he said, God said this, "I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their groaning, stenagmos, and I've come down to deliver them". In other words, speaking in tongues, my friend, when you pray in the Spirit, it's activating the covenant. That is equivalent to that groaning in the Old Testament. That's why it came on the day of Pentecost, I'm telling you when you pray in tongues, you're activating the covenant.
See, don't run to me to pray for you. You know, the thing is this, don't run to Pastor Henry or Pastor Lawrence to ask them to pray. I mean, they are wonderful people, but there's someone who is perfect in his knowledge, amen, inexhaustible in his wisdom, amen? And he loves you completely. He's the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent and he prays perfect prayers. So, just letting him loose on the inside of you. Your part is just to let loose. I'm telling you, just knowing something is happening, that pain may still be there, but you know what? Something is being done to it, amen, I'm telling you, church, I can't begin to tell you how many good things have happened in my life, in this church as a result of this prayer gift. I cannot imagine living without this gift. What was God's... must go back to the original blueprint. Go back to the original blueprint.
Acts chapter 2, "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and sat upon each of them". Verse 4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance". This word "utterance" is so beautiful. I'm telling you in the Greek it says, "To speak out, not a word of everyday speech but one belonging to dignified and elevated discourse", wow.
That's why if you want a language, even your English, to be elevated, words that transform people's lives, pray in tongues a lot and many a times when you're talking to people, you might not even know you're prophesying the interpretation of the tongues. Songwriters, pray in tongues, and the interpretation comes out in your writing.
Now, on the day of Pentecost (go back to Acts chapter 2, verse 1). It's the day of Pentecost, all right? The first Pentecost was the giving of the law. You ask any Jewish person that knows their history, they will tell you the first Pentecost, all right, was when they came out of Egypt. God gave what? The law on Mount Sinai. What happened later? Three thousand people died, okay? What does the law say? "You shall not, you shall not, you shall not". Focuses on man, man's efforts, man's doings, man's works, got it? Now 1,500 years after that, the day of Pentecost. God waited until was fully come in the morning, 9 o'clock, and God gave what? Not the law now, the Spirit. And what happened? Three thousand people were saved. The law kills, the Spirit gives life. Are you with me?
Now watch this, when they all spoke in tongues, they ran out, all right, and they started speaking in tongues, all right? And the people from different parts of the world heard them speak in their own language, what? What things in tongues? Look up here, verse 11, "We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God". Those who came said, "Hey, we hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God". The first Pentecost, God's works which are wonderful are not seen. It's man's works, why? "Thou shall not, thou shall not, thou shall not, thou shall not".
God is talking about man's puny works, which man had none. Over here in the new Pentecost, the tongues, the new tongues, is to declare the wonderful works of God. The focus is not what I do now, it's what he has done, what he is doing. When you pray in tongues, when you pray in tongues, your sense of grace become really strong, all right? This word "wonderful works of God" is used only one other time by Mary in prophecy, Jesus's earthly mother, all right? And it's the word megaleios, which is beautiful. It means the glorious perfections of God and his marvelous doings. Isn't it interesting that those who pray in tongues are the people who see the miraculous? Those who don't claim this gift is for today, they see nothing. They don't see any signs and wonders. Isn't it interesting?
Now, let me close with two verses and then we are done. These two verses are related. Watch this in Acts 2. The same chapter they received the gift of praying in tongues, Peter stood up. As the people gathered, all right, Peter stood up and preached in their own language, probably in Hebrew or Aramaic, and he was quoting the Psalms. Peter said, "For David says concerning Christ: 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken".
Now, I must tell you first, sin is defined as falling short of God's glory, y'all know that. Sin is not the color of your hair and the kind of clothing you wear. Sin is forfeiting God's glory, all right? Romans 3:23 first, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". It's falling short of God's glory. God made man and man was the reflection of God's glory, all right? The animals was not a reflection of God's glory. Everything on earth is not a reflection. God made man last because man is created for God's glory. Look at Isaiah. God says, "I have formed him. Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory". God made you for his glory.
I'm telling, God made you for his glory. Your body was never to fall sick. Your mind was never to be depressed. Your spirit was never to be cut off from God. You were made for God's glory, glorious, shining light, that's how God made you. When Adam sinned, it was put out. But let me show you this. Back to Peter's sermon. Peter was quoting Psalms where David says, "Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades", or hell. Now, watch this, "Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue was glad". Can you memorize this part here? "Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue was glad; my flesh rest in hope".
Now, with this in mind, watch this. Let's go to the actual quotation from Psalms 16, and then we'll close. Psalms 16, David says, "I have set the Lord always before me;" he said, "My right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh will also rest in hope". Hmm, something changed. David says, "My glory". Peter quoting David said, "My tongue". Actually the Holy Spirit's interpreting it. He's telling us the key to God's glory is your tongue, the tongue no one can tame except the Holy Spirit. Mmm, are you with me? Church, let's put them in juxtaposition, okay, so you can see in comparison.
"Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; my flesh will rest in hope". "Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices". Where it says, "My glory", Peter says, "My tongue". We found the key. Can you see this? Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Peter changed that word "glory" to tongue, why? It must be one in the same. The glory man lost on the birthday of the church, the day of Pentecost, God restored. The more you pray in the Spirit, you'll walk in a zone called glory, the glory zone.
What Adam forfeited, you will inherit, you will enjoy, you will walk in it. And in that glory zone all of a sudden, you feel so good. "I feel so alive. I feel so good. I feel like loving the whole world. I feel like forgiving everyone. No one can hurt me, because God is with me", amen. You know, in that glory zone, no weapon formed against you will prosper. Amen, church? I want to encourage you, have you been praying in the Spirit lately, or have you been handling your problems with your own strength, your mouth sealed tight? Have you been doing that? Time to activate it.